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Bellagio Cup Poker Championship Kicks Off Today

Card Player Will Provide Daily Recaps


Mike WatsonWhile the World Series of Poker main event field dwindles down into a November Nine, part of the focus in the poker world shifts from the Rio to Bellagio as the fifth Bellagio Cup championship kicks off today. Bellagio will welcome some of the biggest names in the game for its $15,400 main event.

Card Player will be providing daily recaps from the premiere event and live updates beginning with Day 2. Follow all the action on

The tournament features deep stack play, as players start with 600 big blinds. As of 1:10 p.m., only 58 players had registered for Day 1A, but with those 58 players came several big-name pros.

Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, Erik Seidel, Vitaly Lunkin, Alex Kravchenko, Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Scott Montgomery, Isaac Haxton, Shannon Shorr, Tony Dunst, and Hoyt Corkins are amongst the many big names to ante up on Day 1A.

Last year’s event boasted a field of 448 players.

In 2008, Mike Watson took down the tournament and nearly $1.7 million for his efforts. Watson defeated David Benyamine heads-up for the win, overcoming a final table that also featured John Phan, Ralph Perry, Luke Staudenmaier, and Gabriel Thaler.

In what proved to be the pivotal hand of the heads-up battle, Watson and Benyamine got into a classic race as Benyamine pushed all-in with pocket queens, with Watson calling for his tournament life with ace-king. The ace came on the river, and Watson finished Benyamine off shortly thereafter.

2008 Bellagio Cup Results:

1 Michael Watson $1,673,770
2 David Benyamine $840,295
3 Luke Staudenmaier $452,465
4 Ralph Perry $290,900
5 John Phan $193,915
6 Gabriel Thaler $129,275